Thinking like a journalist will help you write engaging articles that inform and entertain your readers
Our content team works hard to create informative and interesting blogs—just like this one! Really, anything we write, we take the time to plan out our approach, research relevant topics and interview the experts. As a content-first agency, we hold ourselves to high standards, especially when writing for our clients. That’s why we prioritize taking a journalistic approach to content marketing. Yakkety Yak CEO and Founder Ashley Logan weighs in and explains why you should too.
Become a Subject-Matter Expert
First, you have to think like a journalist. That means brainstorming ideas, fact-checking and interviewing the necessary people before putting pen to paper. This is especially important when writing for a client. Whether or not you’re completely familiar with the industry, project or initiative, your writing should convey a sense of authority on the matter.
But writing with authority does not mean that you should pretend to know more than you do; “fake it until you make it” does not apply to journalism! Being a journalist means asking the right questions of the right people. And if you don’t know which questions to ask, a good journalist will thoroughly research the topic to figure it out. Be resourceful, and use the facts you gather to inform you writing and plan out your editorial calendar.
Start by thinking about your audience and what is most important to them. Are you sharing information they already have? Consider tapping into the experts to make sure that what you’re writing about is relevant.
“Gathering sources is hugely important,” explains Ashley. “Taking a journalistic approach to your content allows you to become a subject-matter expert. Plus, it forces you to write with your target audience in mind. They are the people who will be consuming your information.”
Earn the Reader’s Trust
First and foremost, credibility is the key objective. Credibility is earned by being informative, accurate and professional. That means nixing any content that is overly promotional and, instead, focusing on educating the reader. Because journalism is committed to uncovering and reporting on facts, journalistic writing should be impartial and neutral. Even when you are writing to sell, make sure that you come across as informative rather than promotional.
“Journalists should remain neutral, and rely on accurate information from their sources,” says Ashley. “Be fair and balanced, which makes for stronger writing and a more convincing story.” When you have a reputation of being unbiased, you’ll earn the trust of your readers.
Captivate the Reader
Good journalism is engaging. Not only is the writing captivating, but the way a piece is written encourages readers to hang on until the very end. “It’s all about the narrative arc,” says Ashley. “Every good article has a beginning, middle and end, which aligns nicely with the objectives of content marketing. There needs to be a clear takeaway.”
By giving as much attention to headlines, subheads and structure as you do the body of an article or newsletter, you’ll create content that readers will want to read. “Your reader should know exactly what comes next by the time they get to the end of your article, and there should be a clear CTA to prompt their next action.”
Quality Content Gets You Noticed
When it comes to writing for a client, you never want to sound phony or insincere. The tone and voice of a brand need to be authentic and align with the message. By thinking like a journalist and researching the industry, you’ll be able to write with authority and accuracy. Plus, when you ask the right questions, you can dig into the topic and understand the points of interest for prospective readers.
“Quality content continues to be the cornerstone of what appears to and is presented by Google,” Ashley says. Effective writing starts with drawing readers in and ends when you’ve kept them engaged until the last word. “Every article, newsletter or post should have the key fundamental pieces: not keywords, but strong sources, interesting quotes and a narrative arc.”
Need help developing your voice or writing expertly sourced and well-researched blogs? Contact us today to learn how we can help tell your brand’s story. After all, you can’t fake good content.